AUTHOR BIO Jeannette Belshee Reitz (Jzonay)

B.S. Oregon State University

M.Ed. Central Washington University

Post graduate study in Organizational Behavior: trained and worked as a Process Consultant

I have a variety of work experience includes teaching, program coordination, facilitating workshops and seminars, and Esoteric Guide (consulting/counseling) in addition to experience in real estate sales and appraisal and business brokerage. 

 As a retiree I am an avid reader of ancient to current information in science, spirituality and other topics. I also love to write both creative and inspired material, as well as pulling together concepts and ideas and organizing them into easily understood and interesting information. 



Three generations of my family members, from both sides of my parentage, contributed to the making of Ketchikan—constructing buildings, creating infrastructure, carrying out civic/elected duties, and supporting social/fraternal organizations.

  • My paternal grandmother’s uncle, Neil McIlravie, was the first builder/contractor in Ketchikan, arriving from Juneau in early 1899, and building forty-some of the more prominent buildings of that time.
  • Bert Ray Libe arrived in 1914 and married Neil’s younger daughter, Mae McIlravie. Together, they carried on her father’s legacy. Bert became a long-time pioneer of Ketchikan: a craftsman home builder/contractor, business entrepreneur, and supporter of Ketchikan’s civic, fraternal, and social affairs.
  • My mother’s grandfather, Charles J. Stoll, also a builder/contractor, arrived in the early ‘20s with his wife, Edna, who taught piano and voice lessons in the community. He was serving as Street Commissioner in the early 30’s when Dock Street was being widened from Main to Bawden Streets and lower Stedman Street was being paved.
  •  My parents, LeRoy Belshee and Gladys Lawson, arrived separately in the mid-thirties and were married in 1938.

My father became a journeyman carpenter and worked with Uncle Bert, remodeling buildings, building houses, and developing and operating the Blue Jay Mine from March 1937 to December 1939. He built our first house in Ketchikan, which we moved into in June 1941—three weeks before I was born.

 My mother graduated from the first Alaska training class for the Nurse’s Aide Corps—taught in the summer of 1942 (early WWII era) by the American National Red Cross under the auspices of the Ketchikan Chapter. A few months later she became ill while working at the Ketchikan General Hospital and my father chose to take her to Seattle for medical treatment.

 The three of us left Ketchikan in late December 1942. In the spring of 1943 we traveled to the family wheat ranch, where my father grew up in northcentral Oregon, to help with harvest, and I spent the rest of my youth there, keeping in close touch with the Libes but not returning to Ketchikan until the summer of 1995, when I joined my parents on a family visit to the Blue Jay Mine site.

 In August 2015 I returned to Ketchikan, with my children and grandchildren, to spread my parents ashes at the mine site, and once again enjoy the ambiance of Ketchikan.

 I launched the book at the Ketchikan public library in May 2016.